Mercedes-Benz recently updated the Vito panel van model range for South Africa.
The Vito panel van is a familiar silhouette on local roads, and has now been upgraded to offer more value and a newer look.
Exterior updates mainly took place at the front, as the biggest differentiator between the newest model and the one it is replacing is the fitment of a new grille.
As standard it is in black plastic, but a few check marks in the optional extras category will see a chrome embellished, body-coloured replacement on the front of the Vito.
Besides this, the rest of the exterior was kept nearly identical to the previous generation.
At the rear there is a body-sized door that swings up and opens a cavernous space that can fit plenty of cargo, and a sliding door on the right side makes accessing a load a bit easier.
The fully galvanized body also provides significant corrosion protection, while a choice between 16-inch or 17-inch steel wheels wraps up the exterior elements.
The interior of the Vito has also been built for work.
Hard-wearing materials cover everything from the dash to the seats to the cargo area, and utilitarian optional extras enhance usability more than comfort.
There is a partition between the cabin and cargo area, as well, meaning you can’t use your Vito panel van as an MPV replacement.
The cabin gets two “Caluma” fabric seats with white-striped patterns, a steering wheel with no buttons on it, and the Audio 10 infotainment system as standard.
Audio 10, the only standard radio system on the Vito panel van range, offers Bluetooth connectivity and a radio that utilizes a “digital radio reception” to provide a “crystal-clear and interference-free” experience.
A third seat and steering wheel buttons can be added, but these come at an additional cost.
Manual air-conditioning, plenty of storage pockets, and electric windows cover the rest of the cabin amenities – along with the occasional USB port.
The main focus of a panel van is its usability. As a result the loading bay is fitted with waterproof anti-slip materials, load-securing rings, and enough space for 6,300 litres – or 1,369kg – of cargo.
A braked towing capacity of up to 2,500kg is also supported.
Being from a prestigious German manufacturer, this panel van is at the head of its segment when it comes to safety.
Every customer can buy a Vito with peace of mind knowing that the entire range has received a 5-star Australian NCAP safety score.
This impressive result is achieved with the help of driver’s airbags, seat belt reminders, crosswind assist, attention assist, and adaptive brake lights.
Crosswind assist is a rather innovative feature that will autonomously readjust the van to the optimal position, at speeds of over 80km/h, if a strong gust of wind offsets it from its track.
Attention assist will then warn the driver if they have been at it for too long and need a coffee, and hill assist will help them not roll backwards (or forwards) when they have to pull away on a hill.
Active brake assist is also available on the Vito panel van range for the first time, but this feature comes at an additional cost.
Behind the front grille sits a 2.1-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel motor that generates 120kW of power and 380Nm of torque.
This specification is then fitted with the 9G-Tronic automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.
The setup achieves a combined fuel consumption of 5.7l/100km, a 0-100km/h time of 11.5 seconds, and a top-speed of 191km/h.
The Mercedes-Benz Vito 116 CDI panel van is the range-topping model fitted with all the above-mentioned features, and it has a South African price of R724,111.
It is sold with a 5-year/100,000km ServiceCare BestBasic contract, which covers costs resulting from labour, air and fuel filter changes, and oil and lubricant top-ups.